No case to file for 84th SAC troopers’ deaths in Mamasapano—De Lima
No case can be filed for the deaths of the nine members of 84th Special Action Company-Special Action Force (SAC-SAF), members of the Moro Islamic Liberation and several civilians, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Thursday.
De Lima led the press conference on the result of the second part of the investigation on the Mamasapano incident that killed 44 SAF members, MILF members and civilians.
“Wala ho taong pwedeng kasuhan at this point dahil wala talaga nakapag-identify sa mga naka-engkwentro ng 84th SAC commandos,” de Lima said.
(We cannot file a case against anyone at this point because no one has been able to identify who were involved in the encounter with the 84th SAC commandos.)
The members of the 84th Seaborne Company was tasked to arrest terrorist Zulfikli Bin Hir alias Marwan. Nine of its members were killed during the encounter in Pidsandawan, Mamasapano where Marwan was hiding.
Based on the 120-page report of the National Prosecution Service-National Bureau of Investigation (NPS-NBI), the death of the nine members “[was] the result of a series of deliberate acts by armed individuals with whom the 84th Seaborne engaged in a brief firefight in the course of the assault on Marwan’s hut.”
However, “while the existence of a crime has been established in the killing of the nine 84th Seaborne commandos, the identity of those responsible therefor was not so established. Despite diligent efforts, the NBI-NPS failed to find a single credible witness on the identify of those involved…Hence, no criminal prosecution may be recommended by the Team.”
De Lima said it would be improper to conclude that the 90 individuals facing complaint for complex crime of direct assault with murder for the death of the members of the 55th SAF are the same people responsible for the death of the 84th seaborne members.
“There is no evidence that they were the same people. While there were survivors who gave credible testimonies, none of them could positively identify their attackers,” De Lima said.
On the other hand, De Lima said no case can be filed against lone 55th SAF survivor Police Officer 2 Christopher Lalan for the death of MILF members and civilians.
De Lima said despite the team’s request, the MILF or relatives of the supposed victims failed to submit any proof of death.
She said while the NBI forensic team was able to recover a pillow case, a piece of linoleum and a black shoe from the langgal (place of worship) in Sitio Amalis, the alleged site where civilians were killed, “those are not conclusive proof of the death of said persons.”
“In the absence of the corpus delicti (body of the crime), no charges can be filed against PO2 Lalan for whatever crimes he may have allegedly committed at Barangay Tukanalipao,” said the NPS-NBI report.
De Lima said while there were media reports on the circumstances of MILF and civilian casualties, no sworn statements were given to the panel.
“There were narratives but no sworn statements, no submissions to the panel even if we asked them [MILF and relatives of the civilian victims] repeatedly,” De Lima said. CDG
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